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Faculty Directory

Sam S.B. Shonkoff

Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies

Core Doctoral Faculty
At the GTU since
2019
(510) 649-2488

Sam Shonkoff (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is the Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU, where he teaches on Jewish religious thought as well as methods in the study of religion. His scholarship focuses primarily on German-Jewish and Hasidic theologies, as well as appropriations of Hasidic spirituality in relatively secular spheres. Shonkoff is co-editor with Ariel Evan Mayse of _Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community and Life in the Modern World_ (Brandeis University Press, 2020) and the editor of _Martin Buber: His Intellectual and Scholarly Legacy_ (Brill, 2018). His current book project investigates themes of embodiment in Buber’s representations of Hasidism vis-à-vis the original sources. He is also affiliated with the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics and taught previously at Oberlin College.

Degrees and Certifications

PhD, with distinction, University of Chicago Divinity School, 2018 

MA, University of Toronto, 2011

BA, magna cum laude, Brown University, 2007

Research and Teaching Interests

German-Jewish thought

Hasidism and Neo-Hasidism

Philosophy of religion

Jewish hermeneutics

Formulations of dynamics between corporeality and spirituality

Selected Publications
  • “Neo-Hasidism,” Oxford Bibliographies in Jewish Studies, ed. Naomi Seidman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2022).
  • “From Secular Religiosity to Cultural Disjunctions: Visions of Post-Traditional Jewishness in the Thought of Paul Mendes-Flohr,” Religions 13.2 (2022): 127. 
  • “‘Corporeality, Not Spirituality’: Martin Buber’s Resistance at Eranos in 1934,” The Journal of Religion 101.4 (2021): 505–523.
  • “‘We Shall Do and We Shall Understand’: Embodied Theology in Modern Judaism,” The Routledge Handbook of Religion and the Body, ed. Yudit Greenberg and George Pati (New York: Routledge, forthcoming).
  • Hasidism: Writings on Devotion, Community, and Life in the Modern World, ed. with Ariel Evan Mayse (Waltham: Brandeis University Press, 2020).
  • “What the Study of Religion Can Teach Us about Psychedelics,” Bill of Health (Harvard Law School, 2020).

  • “Martin Buber,” in A New Hasidism: Roots, ed. Arthur Green and Ariel Evan Mayse (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society and University of Nebraska Press, 2019), 51–64.

  • Martin Buber: His Intellectual and Scholarly Legacy, ed. (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
  • “Metanomianism and Religious Praxis in Martin Buber’s Hasidic Tales,” Religions 9.12 (special issue on Religion and Modern Jewish Thought, ed. Paul Mendes-Flohr, 2018).
  • “Michael Fishbane: An Intellectual Portrait," in Michael Fishbane: Jewish Hermeneutical Theology, ed. Aaron W. Hughes and Hava Tirosh-Samuelson (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 1-52.
  • “Temples on Fire: Desert, Dust, and Destruction,” in Playa Dust: Collected Stories from Burning Man, ed. Samantha Krukowski (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2014), 176-183.
  • “The Two Tablets: On Dissolving Ethical-Theological Dualism in Sacred Attunement,” The Journal of Religion 93.4 (2013): 434-451
Courses Taught

Modern Judaisms: Religion, Culture, or Nationality?

Hasidic Mysticism

Introduction to Jewish Theology

Jewish Counterculture of the Sixties

Theology and Ethics departmental seminar